Boycott The Mighty

For those of you who don’t know what The Mighty is, it’s a website that prides itself on the community it has built around mental health, chronic illness, and disabilities. It allows people to publish articles sharing their lives with their conditions in order to better educate the public and make others with those conditions feel understood.

For years, I have loved The Mighty’s articles. They made me feel less lonely in my life with disability and chronic illness.

Unfortunately, they are now accepting sponsorships and paid posts by pharmaceutical companies. This is unethical, and if it does not stop, I will #BoycottTheMighty.

The companies they are accepting money from for these paid posts make disgustingly massive profits from medications people need to survive. They charge so much more for these medications than is necessary because they know many of these people have no other choice but to die from their illnesses, and they want to make make as much money off the suffering of others as possible.

If The Mighty is okay with contributing to those profits by manipulating their user base to buy from these corporations (that is what paid posts are, ads) then I want nothing to do with them. I sent them an email expressing my concerns and have so far received no response.

The Mighty,

please reconsider what you are doing. Consider how unethical this practice is.

In doing this, you are preying on your user base. You are using the unpaid stories written by people living with chronic illnesses + disabilities to line the pockets of those who profit from them. That is wrong.

Until you change course, I have unliked and unfollowed your pages and social media accounts, and in my email I asked you to remove all of my content from your website if you do not stop this.

I will be encouraging others to do the same.

Send them an email. Make your voices heard. If nothing is done to change course, they will continue to prey on the community they worked so hard to build. This may seem innocent now, but this is where corruption becomes a real threat.

As a contributor myself, I was okay with writing for free. I was just happy to be able to share my story on a platform that reaches a lot of others who also live with similar conditions. Up until now, there were no sponsored posts or advertisements that made them any money off of my stories. Now it looks like that is changing, and I feel betrayed. While they might not have ads specifically on my articles in particular, the fact that The Mighty is pushing sponsored posts (which are ads) on their social media accounts is disturbing. Why? Because they BUILT their platform using the stories that were written for free in good faith by people like myself who only wanted to help advocate for our conditions. Now, they are making money off of our stories by accepting these sponsored posts and pushing these companies and and products onto us. I refuse to accept this.


UPDATE 4/16/19 at 6:40pm EST

They responded to my email, and I am not pleased to report that they will not be changing course and ending these unethical sponsorships. Here is our email correspondence so far, beginning with my initial message to them:

My email to Community@TheMighty.com:

I am troubled by a post I recently saw on your Facebook page. It seems you are beginning to accept sponsorships from pharmaceutical corporations. As a Mighty Contributor who has published quite a few stories to your site, this makes me very uncomfortable.

Ethically, this is a very dangerous path for you to take. Pharmaceutical companies, like Janssen, the one which you are being sponsored by on your facebook post, make disgustingly large profits off of the medical misfortune of others. They are greedy and evil. I refuse to contribute to increasing their profits while they take thousands from the pockets of people suffering from potentially fatal illnesses that should not cost that much to maintain.

If you are going to start making money from pharmaceutical corporations by using the stories of people living with medical conditions, I will remove myself from The Mighty entirely. I understand bills need to be paid, but if I start seeing ads or if you start pushing medical advice, medications, or anything that manipulates your user base to buy from these companies, I will not be a part of it. 

Please reconsider accepting sponsorships like these. 

I am so disappointed that I have to write this email. Until I am sure that you will not be partnering with the corporations that make a profit on my illnesses, I can not justify spending time on your website or sharing articles with my friends and family. If you choose to continue your sponsorships, I would like to formally request right now that my articles and profile be removed from The Mighty, and I will be encouraging others to do the same. 

If you decide not to take these sponsorships after all, no action needs to be taken. 

Thank you for your consideration.

Their response:

Hey Sunny,
Thank you so much for reaching out. As a Mighty community member, we take your opinion seriously.
Any industry we work with, including pharmaceutical companies, do not affect the decisions we make editorially. We make sure all sponsored content is marked so we can remain transparent with our community. We understand this may affect whether or not you participate on The Mighty, and we fully respect any decision you make.
We will continue to provide a space for people to talk honestly about their experiences — good and bad, as well as stay transparent and work to protect our community as The Mighty grows. Thanks again for reaching out and for being part of our community.
Best,
The Mighty Team

My response:

This is unacceptable. Contributors write for your site for free. The fact that you would take money from those companies to give them a platform on your website where they are targeting those of us with chronic conditions is unethical and extremely disrespectful to your writers and your base. 
I truly hope you will reconsider this. In the meantime, I would like to request that you please remove all of my content from your website. The companies you are taking sponsorships from make a large profit off of my poor health, and I do not feel comfortable being a part of a website that promotes their products. 
I have unfollowed and unliked all of your social media profiles and pages, and I have and will continue to encourage others to do the same. 
Either pay your writers if you are going to make money off the content they have grown your platform with, or discontinue your sponsorships from these morally bankrupt corporations. 
Prove to me that you really care about The Mighty community, because right now it is looking like blatant exploitation of the very people you are claiming to support. 
Thank you for your time and consideration. I truly, truly hope you will make the right choice. I am heartbroken that I have to write this email to begin with. 
– Sunny 

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